What is native advertising? In more simple terms, it’s an article written by an advertiser to promote their product, but using the same form as an article written by the editorial staff. The question is…is this ethical? I think that from the things I’ve studied in MIT, this seems a bit more ethical than others but it still doesn’t feel right.
The reason why I say it feels more ethical is because they are telling you right before you read it that the article or video has been paid for. Sponsored. Even if you’re unaware of the fine print that says “sponsored” it’s still there. But even then I feel that since its owned, it doesn’t have the liberty to be free like other articles. It’s written under the guidelines and rules by the advertiser. To me it’s the same thing as ABC advertising a bunch of Disney. Like America’s Funny Home Video always sending their winners or having “special editions” at Disney World. Because… if you didn’t know Disney owns ABC.
Another example is how Time Magazine, who is owned by Time Warner, featured the Harry Potter movies on the cover several times (almost each year that the film was released). Oh did I mention that the producers of the movie is Warner Brothers…who is owned by Time Warner. It’s called Synergy.
The reason why I wanted to state this first is to demonstrate how I think Native Advertising is a bit more ethical compared to what others are doing. Most people don’t know what the five major conglomerates (Walt Disney, Comcast, Time Warner, Viacom) own and how it influences content.
So in all fairness I don’t agree with native advertising because it can potentially taint the article. Netflix’s Orange is the New Black show sponsored an article in the New York Times where they had a reporter write on the conditions of women prisons. This article is a good example of how some sponsored articles don’t have to mention who sponsored them. As if the sponsors didn’t influence the content at all. But even then, some writers have to know what they can and cannot say in their articles since it’s being paid.